In the Spell of the Barkley - Michiel Panhuysen
Unravelling the Mystery of the World's Toughest Ultramarathon
Welcome to the Barkley Marathons, a fever dream of an ultra event, inspired by a prison break, heralded by a conch blast, paid for in cigarettes and socks, and completed only by a select few. A race in which competitors haul themselves up mountains, through extreme weather conditions, beyond pain and exhaustion, mile after mile. Completed 60 miles? That's just the fun run.
Journalist and ultrarunner Michiel Panhuysen is a multiple-time Barkley entrant, having fallen under the spell of this most enigmatic of races – and its presiding philosopher-genius organizer Lazarus Lake – in the early 2010s. On each occasion, the Barkley won. The Barkley nearly always wins.
In the Spell of the Barkley is a story of sporting obsession, exploring what drives individuals to challenge themselves at the limits of what is possible – and what it takes to succeed.